PAPAL INTERVIEW WITH CNN PORTUGAL – POPE: ABUSE BY MEN AND WOMEN IN THE CHURCH IS A ‘MONSTROSITY’

An interesting piece of news: Seems that Xi Jiping, president of China and general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, will be in Kazakhstan on September 14, the same day that Pope Francis will be attending the conference of religious leaders and is scheduled to say Mass.

UPDATE ON A PAPAL TRIP: The Vatican today released an updated schedule for the Pope’s trip to Matera on September 25 for the conclusion of the 27th National Eucharistic Congress. The original schedule, released July 8, had an event for the Pope right after his arrival – a meeting from 9 to 9:30 am with refugees in the cathedral. Following Mass at 10 in Piazza Matteotti, the Pope was to go to the canteen of the Fraternity named after “Don Giovanni Mele” in Via Giacomo Racioppi for the blessing and inauguration of the new structure. Those two events have been removed from his schedule. He is still scheduled to say Mass.

PAPAL INTERVIEW WITH CNN PORTUGAL

On August 11, Pope Francis gave an interview to CNN Portugal, touching on a broad spectrum of topics, including his health issues, future travels (or not), sex abuse, women in the Church and more. That interview aired on Monday, September 5. No explanation has been officially given by CNN for waiting 3 weeks from the interview to the broadcast.

In addition to the Vatican News report below, here are some links to other stories dedicated to the CNN interview:

1.CNN – audio: Pope Francis declares ‘zero tolerance’ for Catholic Church abuse, saying he takes personal responsibility for ending it – CNN

2. This CNA story focuses on a fascinating remark made by Francis when asked by CNN if he would be going to Portugal for the 2023 World Youth Day. He replied by saying the Pope would be there – either him or John XXIV! When I heard that name, John XXIV, my first thought was: is Francis telling us what kind of man his successor should be? Pope Francis jokes that either he or John XXIV will attend World Youth Day next year | Catholic News Agency

3.(ANSA) – ROME, SEP 5 – Pope Francis said Monday he cannot yet travel to Kyiv or Moscow, as he would like, on doctor’s orders.  The Argentine pontiff has often declared his desire to travel to the two cities as part of Vatican peace efforts in the Ukraine war. He told CNN Portugal Monday that he is keeping up those efforts and was in constant touch with presidents Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin. Can’t go to Kyiv or Moscow on doctor’s orders says pope – English – ANSA.it

JFL: There seems to be some issue with translations from the Portuguese of the CNN interview about a papal trip to Kazakhstan. The ANSA story has the Pope saying he should not go to Kazakhstan per doctor’s orders : “I can’t go now because after the trip to Canada the knee’s recovery suffered a bit and the doctor banned me from going to Kazakhstan, but I kept in touch, on the phone, and I’ll do what I can.” However, other translations have him saying he should not travel anywhere before the trip to Kazakhstan. As I write, the papal trip is on.

ALSO: this piece starts “Pope Francis said Monday,” whereas the interview actually took place, as I said earlier, on August 11. I have not read anywhere why CNN waited weeks to broadcast the interview

The most complete translation from the Portuguese into another language that I have seen was a lengthy piece in Italian in today’s L’Osservatore Romano. There were many more details about each of the topics the Pope touched on.

POPE: ABUSE BY MEN AND WOMEN IN THE CHURCH IS A ‘MONSTROSITY’

In an interview with CNN Portugal broadcast on Monday evening, Pope Francis says the Church is suffering due to sexual abuse and abuse of authority and power by men and women in the Church. The wide-ranging interview also covers topics such as World Youth Day, the importance of dialogue, and Synod on synodality.

By Christopher Wells

Pope Francis emphatically repeated the Church’s commitment to “zero tolerance” when it comes to priests who abuse others, in an interview with CNN Portugal broadcast on Monday evening.

“I want to be very clear about this: Abuse by churchmen and churchwomen — abuse of authority, abuse of power and sexual abuse – is a monstrosity, because the churchman or churchwoman, whether priest, religious man or woman, or layman or laywoman, is called to serve and to create unity, to make grow, and abuse always destroys,” the Pope said.

“Abuse is a tragic reality of all times, but also of our time,” Pope Francis continued, noting that most abuse occurs in the family or in the neighbourhood and is found in sports, clubs, and schools. However, although only a small percentage occurs in the Church, the Pope said that even one case of abuse in the Church is a “monstrosity.”

In response to abuse, the Pope said it is necessary to recognize the reality of abuse in modern society; to ensure that abuse is other sectors, such as the family is not covered up; and for the Church to address abuse in the areas it is responsible.

The Holy Father reiterated the Church’s commitment to zero tolerance of abuse, saying “a priest cannot continue to be a priest if he is an abuser. He can’t.”

FOR ENTIRE REPORT: Pope: Abuse by men and women in the Church is a ‘monstrosity’ – Vatican News

 

POPE FRANCIS SAYS HE WILL APPOINT WOMEN TO DICASTERY FOR BISHOPS

POPE FRANCIS SAYS HE WILL APPOINT WOMEN TO DICASTERY FOR BISHOPS

In the third part of his interview with the Reuters news agency, Pope Francis shares his plans to expand the role of women in the Roman Curia, and announces his intention to appoint two women to the Dicastery that assists the Pontiff in the selection of bishops.

By Vatican News

Pope Francis has announced his intention to appoint two women to the Dicastery of Bishops, who will therefore be involved in the process of choosing new bishops.

The Pope made the remarks in an interview with Reuters Senior Correspondent Philip Pullella, in response to questions about the presence of women in the Vatican; the new Apostolic Constitution Praedicate evangelium, which reforms the Curia, in fact indicates that some dicasteries (Vatican offices) could be entrusted to a lay man or woman in the future.

“I am open should an opportunity arise. Right now, the Governorate has a deputy governor… Now, two women will be going to the Congregation of Bishops, on the commission to elect bishops. In this way, things open up a little bit.”

Pope Francis then added that in the future he sees the possibility of lay people being appointed to lead certain Vatican departments such as the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, the Dicastery for Culture and Education, or the Vatican Apostolic Library.

The Holy Father recalled that last year he appointed Sister Raffaella Petrini, to the number two position of secretary general in the Governorate of Vatican City, making her the first woman to hold the position.

Pope Francis had also appointed Sister Nathalie Becquart, a French member of the Xaviere Missionary Sisters, as under-secretary of the Synod of Bishops, while several other women already hold high-level positions in the Vatican, including Barbara Jatta, the first female director of the Vatican Museums; and Cristiane Murray, deputy director of the Vatican Press Office. Both were appointed by the current Pontiff.

Last month, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, joked that, with the promulgation of the new Constitution on the Curia, he might be the last cleric to lead that dicastery.

 

 

VATICAN INSIDER: FR. JOHN PAUL ON THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION – POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN AMERICA – CARDINALS-DESIGNATE AND CANON LAW

VATICAN INSIDER: FR. JOHN PAUL ON THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION

My guest this week in the interview segment of Vatican Insider is once again EWTN’s chaplain to staff, Fr. John Paul. He spends several weeks each year with the Rome bureau staff and last week he spoke about that visit and being a Missionary of Mercy. This week in Part II, he has especially meaningful words on being a confessor that will give you a new and wonderful idea about confession.

Here are some photos from Fr. John Paul’s May visit in case you missed them last week:

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IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN AMERICA

Paraphrasing Clint Eastwood, I’m going to “make your day!”

Here is a wonderful analysis – totally right on! – of Pope Francis’ remarks in an interview with editors of the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, where he comments on the “staggering” (the word used by Vatican News in its summary of the interview) number of “restorationists” in the United States, that is, people who do not believe in or follow Vatican Council II.

As we say in Italy, fammi un piacere! Give me a break!

Is the Pope being badly misled on all things American (including the Catholic Church in America!) by one of the people – perhaps the only person – he really listens to, Fr. Antonio Spadaro? Read on….

Pope Francis Does Not Understand the American Church | Jayd Henricks | First Things

CARDINALS-DESIGNATE AND CANON LAW

The interesting fact of the Belgian bishop who asked the Holy Father to withdraw his nomination to the cardinalate brings up the question of Canon Law in regard to cardinals. Bishop emeritus Van Looy of Ghent, Belgium was one of the 21 future red hats to be named by Pope Francis at the May 29th Regina Coeli.

The Vatican News story yesterday said: “Pope Francis accepts Belgian Bishop Lucas Van Looy’s request not to be made a cardinal after the announcement provoked criticism that he did not always react decisively enough against abuse allegations.”

Cardinals-designate are just that, designate. They become cardinals the day of the consistory of creation as you can see in Canon 351 of the Code of Canon Law:

Can. 351 §1. The Roman Pontiff freely selects men to be promoted as cardinals, who have been ordained at least into the order of the presbyterate and are especially outstanding in doctrine, morals, piety, and prudence in action; those who are not yet bishops must receive episcopal consecration.

§2. Cardinals are created by a decree of the Roman Pontiff which is made public in the presence of the college of cardinals. From the moment of the announcement they are bound by the duties and possess the rights defined by law.

There have been a few exceptions made where cardinals were created who were not ordained as bishops.

I have been asked: What if something happens to a Pope before a consistory? The answer seems to be that the cardinals-designate only fully become cardinals when a Pope proclaims that in the presence of the College of Cardinals (§2).

 

WHAT’S IN A NUMBER? – POPE: ‘WAR CANNOT BE REDUCED TO DISTINCTION BETWEEN GOOD GUYS AND BAD GUYS’

WHAT’S IN A NUMBER?

Vatican News today published an interview given by Pope Francis to 10 editors of the Jesuit magazine “Civilta Cattolica”. They note that what they published on the vaticannews website is “an ample excerpt.” To pique your interest (the article is quite long), I offer the first question asked by the editors and then several paragraphs of the papal answer, following that by their second question and several paragraphs of the papal answer. I also present the link to the full article so that you may read each question and the papal answers in their entirety.

I have to say I was perplexed – and also a bit floored – by part of the Holy Father’s answer to the second question: “What signs of spiritual renewal do you see in the Church? Do you see any? Are there signs of new, fresh life?”

Francis said:It is very difficult to see spiritual renewal using old-fashioned outlooks. We need to renew our way of seeing reality, of evaluating it. In the European Church, I see more renewal in the spontaneous things that are emerging: movements, groups, new bishops who remember that there is a recent Church Council. Because the Council that some pastors remember best is the Council of Trent. And what I am saying is not an absurdity.

“Restorationism has come on the scene to gag the Council. The number of ‘restorationist’ groups—for example, there are many in the United States—is staggering…..”

What on earth does “staggering” mean?! What is “restorationism”?

If you are going to talk about numbers, let’s have some numbers, some specific, verifiable (and verified) data.

I am very big on verifying things – names, dates and especially numbers, quantities, percentages. I am big on truth. I am for understanding the big picture, the whole picture.

You may remember the lead from a CNA story from April 27, 2020: “The Vatican’s doctrinal congregation has asked the world’s bishops to report on how a landmark papal document acknowledging the right of all priests to say Mass using the Roman Missal of 1962 is being applied in their dioceses. Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), wrote to the presidents of bishops’ conferences in a March 7 letter, asking them to distribute a nine-point questionnaire to bishops about the 2007 apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum.”

Questions included: “In your opinion, are there positive or negative aspects of the use of the extraordinary form?”; “How has the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum had an influence on the life of seminaries (the seminary of the diocese) and other formation houses?”; Does the extraordinary form respond “to a true pastoral need” or is “promoted by a single priest.”

That 2020 survey was not the first. There was a survey in 2010 because Benedict himself in 2007 had asked bishops for feedback on Summorum Pontificum and “to send to the Holy See an account of your experiences, three years after this motu proprio has taken effect.”

The result of that 2020 survey, we were told, led to Pope Francis writing the Apostolic Letter motu proprio Traditionis custodes, promulgated on July 16, 2021. It greatly restricted the Tridentine Mass of the Roman Rite, sometimes colloquially called the “Latin Mass” or the “Traditional Latin Mass”. (TLM)

Why am I mentioning this when I’ve been talking about numbers and verifiable (and verified) data?

Because in June 2021, prior to TC being promulgated, an investigative story in the Remnant that looked into the survey conducted by the (then) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found that “Approximately thirty percent of the world’s bishops responded to the questionnaire, and more than half of those who responded had a favorable or neutral response, multiple sources confirmed.”

Thus, more than half were favorable or neutral to the TLM. Which means that less than half were against it! In any case, less than 15%,

If so few were actually against the Latin Mass, why the need to write a document that so severely restricted it?

We need numbers.

And, regarding the papal interview in LaCivilta Cattolica, am I wrong to think we need data for the “staggering” numbers of restorationist groups in the U.S.?

POPE: WAR CANNOT BE REDUCED TO DISTINCTION BETWEEN GOOD GUYS AND BAD GUYS’

Pope Francis granted an interview to the Jesuit review La Civiltà Cattolica, and shared his thoughts on the war in Ukraine, Germany’s synodal path, and signs of fresh life in the Church.

By Vatican News

We publish here an ample excerpt of Pope Francis’ conversation with La Civiltà Cattolica, which was released on Tuesday.

Q: The Society [of Jesus] is present in Ukraine, part of my [i.e. the Polish] Province. We are living a war of aggression. We write about it in our magazines. What is your advice for reporting on the situation we are experiencing? How can we contribute to a peaceful future?

To answer this question, we have to get away from the common mindset of “Little Red Riding Hood”: Little Red Riding Hood was good and the wolf was the bad guy. Here there are no metaphysical good guys and bad guys, in the abstract. Something global is emerging, with elements that are closely intertwined with each other. A couple of months before the war started, I met with a head of state—a wise man, who speaks very little: very wise indeed. After we discussed the things he wanted to talk about, he told me that he was very concerned about the way NATO was acting. I asked him why, and he said, “They are barking at the gates of Russia. And they don’t understand that the Russians are imperial and they will not allow any foreign power to approach them.” He concluded, “The situation could lead to war.” This was his opinion. On 24 February, the war began. That head of state was able to read the signs of what was happening.

What we are seeing is the brutality and ferocity with which this war is being carried out by the troops, generally mercenaries, used by the Russians. In reality, the Russians prefer to send forward Chechens, Syrians, mercenaries. But the danger is that we only see this, which is monstrous, and miss the whole drama that is unfolding behind this war, which was perhaps somehow either provoked or not-prevented. I also note the interest in testing and selling weapons. It is very sad, but at the end of the day that is what is at stake.

Someone may say to me at this point: but you are pro-Putin! No, I am not. It would be simplistic and erroneous to say such a thing. I am simply against turning a complex situation into a distinction between good guys and bad guys, without considering the roots and self-interests, which are very complex. While we witness the ferocity and cruelty of Russian troops, we should not forget the problems, and seek to solve them.

CLICK HERE FOR THE REST OF THE ANSWER: Pope: ‘War cannot be reduced to distinction between good guys and bad guys’ – Vatican News

Q: What signs of spiritual renewal do you see in the Church? Do you see any? Are there signs of new, fresh life?

It is very difficult to see spiritual renewal using old-fashioned outlooks. We need to renew our way of seeing reality, of evaluating it. In the European Church, I see more renewal in the spontaneous things that are emerging: movements, groups, new bishops who remember that there is a recent Church Council. Because the Council that some pastors remember best is the Council of Trent. And what I am saying is not an absurdity.

Restorationism has come on the scene to gag the Council. The number of “restorationist” groups—for example, there are many in the United States—is staggering. An Argentine bishop told me that he had been asked to administer a diocese that had fallen into the hands of these “restorers.” They had never accepted the Council. There are ideas, behaviors that arise from a restorationism that basically did not accept the Council. The problem is precisely this: that in some contexts the Council has not yet been accepted. It is also true that it takes a century for a Council to take root. We still have forty years to make it take root, then!

Other signs of renewal include the groups that give a fresh face to the Church through social or pastoral care. The French are very creative in this regard.

TO READ THE REST OF POPE FRANCIS’ ANSWER AND THE REST OF THE ARTICLE: Pope: ‘War cannot be reduced to distinction between good guys and bad guys’ – Vatican News

 

POPE FRANCIS ON ST. JOSEPH, FATHERHOOD AND SPIRITUAL PATERNITY

POPE FRANCIS ON ST. JOSEPH, FATHERHOOD AND SPIRITUAL PATERNITY

The Vatican this afternoon released Pope Francis’ interview with Vatican Media on being parents in the time of Covid and the witness of Saint Joseph, an example of strength and tenderness for today’s fathers. Parents who face challenges for the sake of their children are heroes.

The interview granted by Pope Francis highlights fatherhood in the light of the testimony of Saint Joseph and on the challenges that parents face today to give a future of hope to their children. The interview was conducted by L’Osservatore Romano director, Andrea Monda and by deputy editorial director of the Dicastery for Communication, Alessandro Gisotti. The inteview, in Italian, was published on Vatican News in French, English, German, Spanish and Portuguese.

Following is the full English-language edition:

The Special Year dedicated to Saint Joseph ended 8 December 2021, but Pope Francis’ attention and love for this Saint have not ended and indeed are further strengthened in the Catecheses which he has been devoting to the figure of the Patron of the universal Church, since 17 November.

On our part, L’Osservatore Romano [in Italian] has published a monthly feature throughout 2021 which was also covered by the Vatican News website, on Patris Corde, focusing on each chapter of the Apostolic Letter on Saint Joseph. This feature that dealt with fathers, but also with children and mothers in an ideal dialogue with the Bridegroom of Mary, prompted in us the desire to discuss with the Pope the theme of paternity and its various aspects, challenges and complexities.

An interview thus resulted in which Francis answers our questions, showing all his love for families, his closeness to those experiencing suffering and the Church’s embrace of the fathers and mothers who today have to face thousands of difficulties in order to give their children a future. (L’Osservatore Romano photo)

Holy Father, you announced a Special Year dedicated to Saint Joseph, you wrote the letter, Patris Corde and you are carrying out a series of Catecheses dedicated to him. What does Saint Joseph mean for you?

 I have never hidden the closeness I feel towards Saint Joseph. I think that it comes from my childhood, from my formation. I have always nurtured a special devotion for Saint Joseph because I believe that his person represents what Christian faith should be for each of us, in a beautiful and simple way. In fact Joseph is a normal man and his holiness consists precisely in making himself a saint through the beautiful and ugly things he had to experience and face. We cannot, however, deny the fact that we find Saint Joseph in the Gospel, especially in the accounts of Matthew and Luke, as an important protagonist of the beginning of the story of salvation. Indeed, the events that saw the birth of Jesus were difficult events, filled with obstacles, with problems, with persecution, with darkness; and that, in order to come towards His Son who was being born into the world, God placed Mary and Joseph at his side.

If Mary is the one who gave birth to the Word- made-flesh, then Joseph is the one who defended him, who protected him, who nourished him, who made him grow. We could say that in him, there is the man of the difficult times, the concrete man, the man who knows how to take on responsibilities. In this sense two characteristics are joined in Saint Joseph. On the one hand, his marked spirituality, is translated in the Gospel through the stories of dreams; these accounts bear witness to Joseph’s ability to know how to listen to God speaking to his heart. Only someone who prays, who has an intense spiritual life, can have the capacity to know how to distinguish God’s voice in the midst of many other voices that dwell in us. Beside this aspect, there is another one: Joseph is a concrete man, that is, a man who faces problems with great practicality, who never assumes the position of being a victim when faced with difficulties and obstacles. Instead, he always places himself in the perspective of reacting, of responding, of trusting God, and finding a solution in a creative way.

Does this renewed attention to Saint Joseph in this time of great trials have a special meaning?

The time in which we are living is a difficult time, marked by the coronavirus pandemic. Many people are suffering, many families are facing difficulties, many people are hounded by the anxiety of death, of an uncertain future. I felt that precisely in this time that is so difficult, we needed someone who could encourage us, help us, inspire us, in order to understand which is the right way to know how to face these dark moments. Joseph is a bright witness in dark times. This is why it was right to make room for him at this time, in order to find our way again.

Your Petrine Ministry began on 19 March, the feast day of Saint Joseph…

I always considered it a kindness from heaven to be able to begin my Petrine Ministry on 19 March. I think that in some way Saint Joseph wanted to tell me that he would continue to help me, to be beside me, and I would be able to continue to think of him as a friend I could turn to, whom I could trust, whom I could ask to intercede and pray for me. But certainly, this relationship which comes from the communion of Saints is not reserved for me alone. I think that it can be of help to many. This is why the Year dedicated to Saint Joseph, I hope, made the heart of many Christians rediscover the profound value of the communion of Saints which is not an abstract communion, but a concrete communion that expresses itself in a concrete relationship and has concrete consequences.

In our newspaper’s feature on Patris Corde, on the Special Year dedicated to Saint Joseph, we intertwined the life of the Saint with that of fathers, but also of today’s children. What can today’s children, the fathers of tomorrow, receive from a dialogue with Saint Joseph?

One is not born a father, but we are certainly all born as children. This is the first thing we have to consider: that is, that each of us, aside from everything that life has reserved for us, is first of all a son or daughter, entrusted to someone who comes from an important relationship that made them grow and that influenced them for better or for worse. To have this relationship and to recognise its importance in one’s life means understanding that one day when we will have the responsibility over someone’s life — that is, when we will have to exercise fatherhood — we will carry with us first of all the experience that we have personally had. And it is important then to be able to reflect on this personal experience in order not to repeat the same mistakes and to treasure the beautiful things we have experienced.

I am convinced that the relationship of paternity that Joseph had with Jesus influenced his life so much, to the point that Jesus’ future preaching is filled with images and references taken precisely from paternal imagery. For example, Jesus says that God is Father and this statement cannot leave us indifferent, especially when we think about his personal human experience of paternity. This means that Joseph was such a good father that Jesus found in this man’s love and paternity the most beautiful reference he could give to God. We could say that today’s children, who will become tomorrow’s fathers, should ask themselves what fathers they had and what fathers they want to be. They should not let the role of fatherhood be a fruit of chance or simply of the consequences of a past experience, but rather they should decide with awareness how to love someone, how to take on the responsibility of someone.

The last chapter of Patris Corde speaks of Joseph as the father in the shadows. A father who knows how to be present but lets the child grow freely. Is this possible in a society that seems to reward only those who take up space and visibility?

One of the most beautiful aspects of love, and not only of fatherhood, is indeed freedom. Love always creates freedom. Love should never become a prison, a possession. Joseph shows us his ability to take care of Jesus without ever possessing him, without ever wanting to manipulate him, without ever wanting to distract him from his mission. I think that this is very important as a test of our capacity to love and also our capacity to know how to take a step backwards. A father is good when he knows how to remove himself at the right time so that his child can emerge with his beauty, with his uniqueness, with his choices, with his vocation. In this sense, in every good relationship, we have to give up wishing to impose from on high, an image, an expectation, indeed a visibility, completely filling the scene with excessive protagonism.

The wholly “Joseph-like” characteristic of knowing how to step aside, the humility that is the capacity also to slip into second place, is perhaps the most decisive aspect of the love that Joseph has for Jesus. In this sense Joseph is a very important character, I dare say an essential one, in Jesus’ biography precisely because at a certain point he knows how to step away from the scene so that Jesus can shine in all his vocation, in all his mission. Faced with the image of Joseph, we have to ask ourselves if we are capable of knowing how to take a step back, to allow the other, and especially those entrusted to us, to find in us a reference point, but never an obstacle.

Several times you said that fatherhood is facing a crisis today. What can be done, what can the Church do to strengthen again the father-son relationship that is fundamental for society?

When we think of the Church, we think of her as a Mother and this is certainly not wrong. In these years, I too have very much tried to highlight this perspective because it is a way to exercise the motherhood of the Church which is mercy, that is, that love that generates and regenerates life. Are forgiveness and reconciliation not a way by which we are put back on our feet again? Is it not a way by which we newly receive life because we receive another chance? There can be no Church of Jesus Christ if not through mercy! However, I think that we should have the courage to say that the Church should not only be maternal but also paternal. She is called to exercise a paternal, not a paternalistic ministry. And when I say that the Church has to rediscover this paternal aspect, I am referring precisely to the capacity that is wholly paternal of placing children in the condition to take on their responsibilities, to exercise their freedom, to make choices. If, on the one hand, mercy heals us, cures us, comforts us, encourages us; on the other, God’s love is not limited simply to forgiving and healing, but rather, God’s love spurs us to make decisions, to go out to sea.

Sometimes fear, even more during this time of pandemic, seems to paralyse this leap…

Yes, this time in history is a period marked by the inability to make big decisions in one’s life. Our young people are often afraid to decide, to choose, to take a risk. A Church is such not only when she says yes or no, but above all when she encourages and makes big choices possible. And every choice always has some consequences and some risks, but sometimes due to fear of consequences and risks, we are paralysed and we cannot do anything or make any choices. A true father does not tell you that everything will always go well, but rather that even if you may find yourself in a situation in which things are not going well, you will be able to face and live with dignity even those moments, those failures. A mature person can be recognized not by their victories but by the way they know how to experience a failure. It is precisely in the experience of falling and weakness that a person’s character can be recognized.

Spiritual paternity is very important for you. How can priests be fathers?

We were saying earlier that fatherhood is not to be taken for granted: we are not born fathers. At best one becomes one. Equally, a priest is not born already as father, but rather has to learn it a little at a time beginning first of all, by recognizing himself as a son of God, but then also as a son of the Church. And the Church is not an abstract concept. She is always someone’s face, a concrete situation, something to which we can give a precise name. We received our faith always through a relationship with someone. Christian faith is not something that can be learned from books or by simple reasoning. Instead, it is an existential passage that passes through our relationships. Our experience of faith thus always arises from somebody’s witness. We must therefore ask ourselves in what way do we experience gratitude towards these people; and above all, whether we keep this critical capacity to know how to distinguish what was able to pass through them that was not so good. Spiritual life is not that different from human life. If a good father, humanly speaking, is such because he helps his child to become himself, making his freedom possible, and spurring him towards the big decisions, then a spiritual father is equally such not when he substitutes himself for the conscience of people entrusted to him, not when he answers questions that these people carry in their hearts, not when he dominates over the life of those entrusted to him, but rather when in a discreet and at the same time firm way, he is able to show the way, provide different interpretations, help in discernment.

What is needed most urgently today to strengthen this spiritual dimension of paternity?

Spiritual paternity is very often a gift that arises especially from experience. A spiritual father can share not so much his theoretical skills, but above all his personal experience. Only in this way can he be useful to a child. There is a great urgency in this moment in history, of meaningful relationships that we could define as spiritual paternity, but, allow me to say, also of spiritual maternity because this role of accompanying is not a male prerogative or only that of priests. There are many good religious women, consecrated women but also many lay men and women that have a baggage of experiences that they can share with other people. In this sense, a spiritual relationship is one of those relationships that we have to rediscover with renewed effort in this historical moment without ever confusing it with other paths of a psychological or therapeutic nature.

Among the tragic consequences of Covid, there is also the loss of work of many fathers. What would you like to say to these fathers experiencing difficulty?

I feel very close to the suffering of those families, of those fathers and mothers who are experiencing particular difficulty, worsened above all due to the pandemic. I think that not being able to feed one’s children, feeling the responsibility for the life of others, is suffering that is not easy to face. In this regard, my prayers, my closeness but also all the support of the Church is for these people, for these least ones. But I also think of many fathers, many mothers and many families that flee war, who are rejected at the borders of Europe and elsewhere, who experience situations of suffering and injustice and who no one takes seriously or willingly ignores. I would like to say to these fathers, to these mothers, that for me they are heroes because I see in them the courage of those who risk their lives for love of their children, for love of their family. Mary and Joseph too experienced this exile, this trial, having to flee to a foreign land due to Herod’s violence and power. Their suffering makes them close precisely to these brothers who are suffering the same trials today.

May these fathers turn with trust to Saint Joseph, knowing that as a father, he too had the same experience, the same injustice. And I would like to say to all of them and to their families, do not feel alone! The Pope remembers them always and as far as it is possible, will continue to give them a voice and will not forget them.

POPE AT REQUIEM MASS: THE RESURRECTION IS THE AIM AND PURPOSE OF LIFE – POPE TO CATHOLIC UNIVERSITIES: EDUCATE STUDENTS TO SOCIAL, RELATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY – PAPAL INTERVIEW AT THE END OF EXTRAORDINARY MISSION MONTH: “WITHOUT JESUS WE CAN DO NOTHING”

POPE AT REQUIEM MASS: THE RESURRECTION IS THE AIM AND PURPOSE OF LIFE

Pope Francis celebrated a Requiem Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica this morning for the cardinals and bishops who died during the past year. His homily, consisting of reflections on the Resurrection, focused on Going to Jesus, Going Forth, Going toward Others, Going toward the End.

Click here to read more and to see the entire video of the papal Mass. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-at-requiem-mass-the-resurrection-aim-and-purpose-of-life.html

POPE TO CATHOLIC UNIVERSITIES: EDUCATE STUDENTS TO SOCIAL, RELATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

Pope Francis received members of the International Federation of Catholic Universities and reminded them that the fruits of study must have a relational and social purpose.

By Vatican News

“New Frontiers for University Leaders: The Future of Health and the University Ecosystem” is the theme of a forum being held in Rome dedicated to the topics and challenges currently driving university transformation.

University challenges
Pope Francis outlined some of those challenges in his discourse. They include preparing new generations to become qualified professionals, but also “proponents of the common good, creative and responsible leaders in social and civil life, with a proper vision of the person and the world,” he said.

Universities today “need to consider what contribution they can and must make to the integral health of the person and to an inclusive ecology,” said the Pope.

Catholic universities, in particular, need to become places “where solutions for civil and cultural progress for individual persons and for humanity, marked by solidarity, are pursued with perseverance and professionalism,” he said.

Techoscience
The Pope noted how the development of “technoscience,” the way humanity interacts with technology, is “destined increasingly to influence people’s physical and psychological health.”

We need to remember that all teaching “entails asking ourselves about the why,” he said. “It requires a reflection on the foundations and purposes of every discipline.” Abstracting knowledge from its ethical dimension would mean abandoning the task of teaching, said the Pope.

Epistemology
Facing the questions of “why” involves the “typically epistemological character of education which concerns the whole span of knowledge,” continued Pope Francis. “The link between knowledge and purpose refers to the theme of intentionality and to the role of the subject in every cognitive process. Completely impersonal experiences do not exist,” he said.

In this light, universities have “an intellectual and moral energy whose responsibility goes beyond the person to be educated and extends to the needs of all humanity,” added the Pope.

University ecosystems
The moral imperative of the International Federation of Catholic Universities, said Pope Francis, is to achieve “a more united international academic community,” in order to develop “a universal spirit aimed at increasing the quality of the cultural life of persons and of peoples.”

University ecosystems develop, said the Pope, “when every member of the university, by focusing on the whole person, cultivates a particular awareness of the context in which people live and grow, and of all that contributes to their advancement.”

Mind and Heart
The formation of leaders achieves its goal, continued Pope Francis, when it imbues the academic years with developing both “the mind and the heart, conscience, together with students’ practical abilities. … The fruits of study must always have a relational and social purpose,” stressed the Pope.

Saint John Henry Newman
Pope Francis concluded with a quote from Cardinal John Henry Newman, patron of the Federation of Catholic Universities.

The Church, wrote Newman, “fears no knowledge, but she purifies all; she represses no element of our nature, but cultivates the whole.”

PAPAL INTERVIEW AT THE END OF EXTRAORDINARY MISSIONARY MONTH: “WITHOUT JESUS WE CAN DO NOTHING”

At the end of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, Vatican News provided some extracts from the book-length interview of Gianni Valente from Fides News Agency with Pope Francis, in which the Pope emphasizes that, “Either the Church evangelizes or she is not Church.” The book, published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana and Edizioni San Paolo will be available in bookstores on November 5th.

Pope hands mission cross to a missionary (Vatican media) –

For those excerpts: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-interview-valente-mission-book.html

POPE ANSWERS MEDIA QUESTIONS ON PAPAL PLANE

POPE ANSWERS MEDIA QUESTIONS ON PAPAL PLANE

From vaticannews.va: The Pope’s comments on the Agreement with China were among the most anticipated by reporters on board the return flight from the Baltic countries. Among the other themes touched on by the Pope were the defense of the identity of the three republics, the condemnation of armaments, and clerical abuse, which he called a “monstrosity.”

The Vaticannews.va summary of the interview on the papal plane as Francis, his entourage and the media returned to Rome, first touched upon – at the Pope’s request – his just-concluded trip to the three Baltic nations.

The report starts: “There was more than one aspect to the Pope’s Apostolic Journey to the Baltics—or rather, the experience that has just been lived quickly branches into interwoven themes upon which Pope Francis wanted to express himself, themes that are the keystones of his Magisterium. And so there was a reversal of roles during the press conference. At one point the Pope was prodding the reporters on the flight back from Talinn to ask “questions about the trip,” holding back others who were fluttering over their notebooks. Because the three questions asked by reporters from the Baltic countries were not enough for the Pope to fully express himself, he took it upon himself to immerse himself in the reality of the “three sisters,” Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, united in the wounds that remain etched in their collective memory. The Baltic nations are currently looking to the west, while rooted in the east, with a future that the Pope has looked forward to with hope.

And then – inexplicably for me – the second paragraph began by noting that, “The Holy Father then submitted to the duty of responding to current events.”

I found that a bit curious “…submitted to the duty”?

Catholic News Agency provided a transcript in English of the entire interview aboard the papal plane last night:

File photo from vatiannews:

Vatican City, Sep 25, 2018 / 03:49 pm (CNA).- The following is an unofficial transcript of the in-flight press conference on the papal plane returning from Tallinn, Estonia to Rome on Sept. 25, 2018.

Greg Burke: Good evening, Holy Father, and thanks especially. Three countries in four days isn’t so easy. It’s tiring. But, perhaps it’s better than four countries in three days. It seemed a bit like four countries in four days because the first day there was this surprise from China. So, we did a little of this also, we came close to China. Let’s try to remain on the theme and speak about the trip and certainly we’ll begin with the local journalists from each nation and we’ll try during the press conference to speak about the trip to the Baltics. I don’t know if you want to say something first, or…
Pope Francis: First of all, ‘d like to thank you for the work that you’ve done because also for you three countries in four days isn’t easy, especially moving from one place to another is tiring. I thank you so much for the service you offer to the people, the people on this trip because communication is important. What happened there, they are many important things that happened on this trip and I await your questions.

Greg Burke: First is Saulena Ziugzdaite from Lithuania.
Saulena Ziugzdaite (Bernardinai.lt): Holy Father, thank you for this moment and for all of this trip. When you spoke in Vilnius about the Lithuanian soul, you said that we must be a bridge between East and West. But, it’s not easy to be a bridge. You’re always crossed by others. Some say our tragedy is that we are a bridge. Perhaps, one says, it’s decidedly better to go to the part of the West, with its values. But for you, what did you mean, what does it mean to be a bridge?
Pope Francis: Evidently, you are part today politically of the West, of the European Union. You have done much to enter into the European Union, after independence, you immediately did all of your homework, which isn’t easy, and you were able to enter into the European Union, that is, a belonging to the West. But, you also have relations with NATO. You belong to NATO, which speaks of the West. If you look to the East, there is your history- a tough history.
Also, a part of the tragic history came from the West, no? From the Germans, from the Poles, but especially from Nazism, no? It was that which came from the West. From the East, from the Russian Empire. Making bridges means – demands – strength. Strength not only of belonging – that gives you strength – but of one’s own identity. I am aware that the situation of the three Baltic countries is always in danger, always. The fear of invasion, because history itself reminds you of that. You are right when you say it’s not easy, but this is a game that is played every day, step after step, with culture, with dialogue. But, it’s not easy and I believe that the obligation of all of us is to help you in this – not to help you but to be close to you with our hearts.

Greg Burke: The next question comes from Gints Amolins from the radio of Latvia.
Gints Amolins (Latvijas Radio): Good day, Holiness! In the Baltic countries, you spoke often of the importance of roots and identity. From Latvia and also Lithuania and Estonia, there were so many people who left for more prosperous nations, so many already are putting their roots elsewhere and then there is also (inaudible) general demographic problems, of birth rate. So in this situation, what can and must our nations, the leaders of our nations and also everyone personally do? How must we evaluate this problem? Thanks.
Pope Francis: I, in my homeland, I didn’t know people from Estonia and from Latvia, but yes it is very strong, but relatively strong the Lithuanian migration. In Argentina, there are so many of them. And they bring their culture and history there. And they are proud in the double effort of inserting themselves in the new nation and also conserving their identity, in their festivals. There are traditional costumes, traditional songs, and they can always return to their homeland to visit.
I think that the fight for maintaining identity is very strong, and you have that, you have a very strong identity, an identity that was made in suffering, in defense, in work, and in culture. What can be done to defend identity? The recourse to the roots. This is important. It’s an ancient thing, but it is a thing that must be transmitted. Identity is inserted in the belonging to a people. And the belonging to a people must be transmitted. Roots must be transmitted to the new generations and this with education and with dialogue, especially between the old and the young. And, you can transmit this and you must do it because your identity is a treasure. So, every identity is a treasure, but conceived as a belonging to a people. This is what comes to me. I don’t know if you wanted to pose that question.

Greg Burke: And, now Evelyn Kaldoja from Estonia
Evelyn Kaldoja (Postimees): I would like to ask in English so I have to wait for the question. At today’s homily, you mentioned that there are some who shout and hurl threats about using weapons and deploying troops and so on and so on. And, considering where we were, on that very square, there were some NATO soldiers who were deployed to Estonia just to offer assurance and many people there thought probably on the situation on the Eastern border of Europe. How concerned are you about the tensions there and also the Catholics who live there across the border from Europe?
Pope Francis: Violence from weapons and, today, the world costs of weapons are scandalous. I was told that with what is spent on weapons in a month, you could feed the hungry of the world for a year. I don’t know if it’s true. It’s terrible. The industry, the commerce of weapons, also contraband sales of weapons is one of the greatest corruptions. And in the face of this, there is the logic of defense. David was able to defeat with a sling and 5 rocks. But today there are no Davids. And I think that to organize a nation, it must have a reasonable and non-aggressive army of defense. Reasonable and non-aggressive. In this way defense is licit. It’s also an honor to defend the homeland. The problem comes when it becomes aggressive, not reasonable and border wars are waged. On borders wars we have so many examples, not only in Europe. Towards the East, but also in other continents. They fight for power, to colonize a nation. This is my perspective and the answer to your question. The weapons industry is scandalous today before a hungry world. Second, it is licit, reasonable to have an army to defend borders. And this is honorable as it is licit to have the keys to the doors of your home -to defend from attack.

Greg Burke: Thanks, Holy Father. Stefanie Stahlhofen from the Austrian Radio station CIC
Stefanie Stahlhofen (CIC): Holy Father, at the ecumenical encounter in Tallinn, you said that the young people before the sexual scandals don’t see a net condemnation by the Catholic Church. In Germany, precisely today a new investigation came out on the sex abuses and about how the Church treated so many cases.
Pope Francis: About this, I’ll speak after [I speak about] the trip. I will respond, but first questions about the trip. This is the rule. But, it will be the first question after the trip.

(Editor’s note: Discussion ensues about whether or not there are further questions about the trip. Pope Francis insists that the trip receive more attention.)

Pope Francis: People expect information about this trip. Afterwards, other questions.

Greg Burke: A Lithuanian is arriving to ask about the trip. Pugagiauskas from Lithuanian television.
Vykintas Pugagiauskas (Lithuanian Radio Television): I would like to speak in English… In all Baltic countries, you professed openness. Openness towards migrants, openness toward the others, but for example, in Lithuania already there was a discussion about a girl that greeted you at the plane and she did not look exactly Lithuanian. She was partly Italian, a bit more black skinned. So, my question is, do the peoples in the Baltic countries only hear what they want to hear from you rather than what you are trying to tell them? Do they hear your message about the openness?
Pope Francis: The message on openness to migrants is rather advanced in your nation. There are no strongly populist views, no… in Estonia and Lithuania are open people that they have the desire to integrate migrants, but not massively because they cannot. To integrate them with prudence of the government. We have spoken with two of the three heads of state on this and they made this argument, not me. And, in the presidents’ speeches you will see that the word welcome, openness is frequent… This shows a desire for universality in the measure that they can take… the measure that they are integrated, this is very important, and the measure that is not a threat against their own identity. There are three things that I understood about the migration of the people, and this has touched me a lot: prudent and well-thought openness. I do not know if you were thinking of another thing.
Pugagiauskas: My question is about the reception of your message.
Pope Francis: I think so. In this gift that I say, because today the problem of migrants in all the world, and not only the external migration, but also internal in the continents is a grave problem. It is not easy to study it. In every place, it has different connotations.

Greg Burke: Holy Father, the questions about the trip are finished…

Pope Francis went on to comment further about what he saw, heard and experienced in the three Baltic nations and then spoke of his meeting Tuesday with young people in Estonia:

“Young people are scandalized, I introduce in this way the first question that was outside the theme of the trip. The young people are scandalized by the hypocrisy of adults. They are scandalized of… They are scandalized by incoherence, they are scandalized by corruption, and into this [scandal] of corruption enters that which you were under-lining: sexual abuse. It is true that it is an accusation against the Church, and we all know, we are all aware of the statistics, I will not say them. But even if it was just one priest who abused a boy or a girl, this is atrocious, because that man was chosen by God to bring… I know that young people are scandalized by such great corruption….”

He further commented on clerical sex abuse, mentioning the Pennsylvania report and the Viganò letter, though he did name the former nuncio explicitly. He also spoke at length about the just-signed Agreement with China on naming of bishops, the work leading up to it, etc.

On China, Francis said, “I was responsible for signing the case of the bishops. … I signed the agreement. At least, the plenipotentiary letters for signing that agreement that I had signed. I am responsible. The others that I appointed in all have worked for more than 10 years. It’s not an improvisation. It’s a path, a true path.”

He began his comments by saying: This is a process of years, a dialogue between the Vatican commission and the Chinese commission to put the appointment of bishops in order. The Vatican team worked a lot…..This went ahead two steps and back one, two ahead and back one. Then, months passed without speaking to each other and then the time of God, which appears to be [the time of the] Chinese. Slowly. This is wisdom, the wisdom of the Chinese. And the bishops who were in difficulty were studied case by case and in the case of the bishops, in the end dossiers came on to my desk about each oneThen, the case of the agreement returned, the drafts on my desk. They were spoken about. I gave my ideas. The other discussed and went ahead. I think of the resistance, the Catholics who have suffered. It’s true. And, they will suffer. Always, in an agreement, there is suffering….”

To read the entire lengthy script, click here: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-text-of-pope-francis-in-flight-press-conference-from-estonia-33293?utm_source=CNA&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_newsletter

POPE INTERVIEW: TALKS WITH CHINA, MIGRATION, CHILE ABUSE CRISIS – POPE SAYS NO TO WOMEN PRIESTS, YES TO WOMEN IN CURIAL LEADERSHIP – POPE TALKS TO REUTERS ABOUT THE ‘DIALOGUE WITH CHINA’

The papal interview seen by Vatican News, CNA and AsiaNews:

POPE INTERVIEW: TALKS WITH CHINA, MIGRATION, CHILE ABUSE CRISIS

Pope Francis spoke about talks with China, migration policy, populism, Chile’s clerical sex abuse crisis, reform of the Roman Curia, and other issues in a wide-ranging interview with the Reuters news agency. The interviewer was Philip Pullella, head of Reuter’s Rome bureau.

by Susy Hodges (Vatican news)

In a new one-on-one interview Pope Francis has responded to a series of questions on various issues including the Holy See’s talks with China, the position of women within the Church, migration policy, populism, Chile’s clerical sex abuse crisis and reform of the Roman Curia.

Talks with China “at a good point”
Asked in the interview about relations with China, Pope Francis said he was optimistic about the outcome of normalization talks with the Chinese authorities saying they were “at a good point” but couldn’t say when they would conclude. He acknowledged that dialogue “is a risk” but said he preferred that to “the certain defeat” of not holding a dialogue with Beijing.

The Pope talked at length about immigration during the interview and was asked about the U.S. administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the U.S./Mexican border. In his reply, he said he supported recent statements issued by U.S. Catholic Bishops who called the separation of children from their parents contrary to Catholic values and immoral.

Turning to the migration situation in Europe, the Holy Father said populists were “creating a psychosis” on the issue of immigration, even as ageing societies like Europe faced “a great demographic winter” and needed more immigrants.

“I believe that you cannot reject people who arrive. You have to receive them, help them, look after them, accompany them and then see where to put them, but throughout all of Europe,” he said. He praised Italy and Greece for being “courageous and generous” by taking in these migrants.

Populism is not the solution
Pope Francis warned that populism does not resolve issues like migration problems. “What resolves things is acceptance, study, prudence,” he said. The Pope also said Europe should stop exploiting Africa and invest in ways that benefit the continent more and this could help solve the problem of migration at its roots.

When asked about women calling for more top positions in the Roman Curia, Pope Francis said he agreed there were few women in positions of responsibility there. He said he wanted to appoint more women to head Vatican departments because “women are better at resolving conflicts.” At the same time, he reiterated that women cannot be ordained to the priesthood. “(Pope) John Paul II was clear on this point and closed the door and I am not going back on that,” he said.

Chile’s clerical sex abuse crisis was another topic discussed at length during the interview. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of three bishops in Chile and said he could accept more resignations in the future.

He spoke of how he returned “a bit worried” after his pastoral visit to Chile in January this year and explained why he decided to send Archbishop Charles Scicluna to the Latin American nation to carry out further investigations into the abuse crisis.

POPE SAYS NO TO WOMEN PRIESTS, YES TO WOMEN IN CURIAL LEADERSHIP

Vatican City, Jun 20, 2018 / 03:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In an interview with Reuters, Pope Francis said more space has to be created for women to take on leading roles in the Roman Curia, but that priestly ordination is not an option.

Responding to a question about women’s ordination to the priesthood, the pope said “there is the temptation to ‘functionalize’ the reflection on women in the Church, what they should do, what they should become.”

“We cannot functionalize women,” he said, explaining that while the Church is referred to as a woman, the Sacrament of Holy Orders is out of the question “because dogmatically it doesn’t work.”

“John Paul II was clear and closed the door, and I will not go back on this. It was something serious, not something capricious,” he said, adding, “it cannot be done.”

However, Francis stressed that while the priesthood is out, women do need to be given more opportunities for leadership in the Roman Curia – a view he said has at times been met with resistance.

“I had to fight to put a woman as the vice-director of the press office,” he said, referring to his decision in 2016 to name Spanish journalist Paloma Garica Ovejero as the Vatican’s deputy spokesperson.

He said he at one point offered a woman the job of heading the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, but she turned it down because “she already had other commitments.”

Women in the Curia “are few, we need to put more,” he said, adding that it can be either a religious sister or a laywoman, “it doesn’t matter,” but there is a need to move forward with an eye for quality and competency in the job.

“I don’t have any problem naming a woman as the head of a dicastery, if the dicastery doesn’t have jurisdiction,” he said, referring to the fact that some Vatican departments have specific functions in Church governance that require a bishop to do the job. Lay men are also ineligible to oversee offices that require the jurisdictional authority of a priest or bishop.

For example, the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy has jurisdiction, so it has to be led by a bishop, but for others, such as the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, “I would not have a problem naming a competent woman,” Francis said.

Women must continue to be promoted, but without falling into “a feminist attitude,” the pope said, adding that “in the end it would be machismo with a skirt. We don’t want to fall into this.”

Pope Francis spoke during an interview with American journalist Phil Pullella of Reuters, which took place Sunday at the pope’s Vatican residence, and was published June 20.

In the interview, the pope touched on a variety of topics, including a possible deal with China on the appointment of bishops, clerical abuse and the ongoing scandal in Chile, the reform of the Roman Curia, and criticism he’s faced.

On the topic of women, Francis said that in his experience, things are usually done better when there is a mixed group working on a task, rather than just men.

“Women have an ability to understand things, it’s another vision,” he said, noting that whenever he has visited prisons run by women, they “seemed to do better,” because women know how to be “mothers” and care for inmates and their needs in a unique way.

“Women know how to manage conflicts better. In these things, women are braver,” he said, adding, “I think it would be so also in the Curia if there were more women.”

Francis noted that some have said inviting more women into the mix might mean there is more gossip, however, he said he does not believe that would be the case, “because we men are also gossipers.”

POPE TALKS TO REUTERS ABOUT THE ‘DIALOGUE WITH CHINA’

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis was interviewed by Philip Pullella of Reuters. In the tête-à-tête, the pontiff said that with respect to the dialogue with China, “We are at a good point”. In addition to diplomatic channels there are friendships and cultural exchanges. The Chinese people are “very wise” and know how to wait. By kind permission, we publish here a translation of an excerpt from the registration of the interview between the Holy Father and the journalist two days ago.

Q: How is the rapprochement with China?
R. We are at a good point, but relations with China follow three different paths. First of all, there is the official one. The Chinese delegation comes here, takes part in meetings, and then the Vatican delegation goes to China. Relations are good and we have managed to do good things. This is the official dialogue.

Then there is a second dialogue, of everyone and with everyone. “I am a cousin of the minister so and so who sent me to say that . . .”. There is always an answer. “Yes, all right, let’s go forward.” These side channels are open, let’s say, at a human level, and we do not want to burn them. We can see goodwill, both from the Holy See and the Chinese government.

The third path, which for me is the most important in the rapprochement with China, is cultural. Some priests work at Chinese universities. Then there is also culture, like the exhibit that was put on in the Vatican and in China.[1] This is the traditional path, like those of the great ones, like Matteo Ricci.

I like to think about relations with China as, multifaceted, based not only the official diplomatic one, because the other two are very enriching. I think things are going well. In your question, you mentioned two steps forward and one step backward. I think the Chinese deserve the Nobel Prize for patience, because they are good, they know how to wait, time is theirs and they have centuries of culture . . . They are a wise people, very wise. I respect China a lot.

Q: How do you respond to concerns such as those of Cardinal Zen?

A: Cardinal Zen taught theology in patriotic seminaries. I think he’s a little scared. Perhaps age might have some influence. He is a good man. He came to talk to me. I received him, but he’s a bit scared. Dialogue is a risk, but I prefer the risk to the sure defeat of not talking. With respect to time, someone mentioned Chinese time. I think it is God’s time, forward, calm.

POPE FRANCIS ON MIGRATION, AFRICA, WOMEN, CHILE, CHINA

Pope Francis is in Geneva today to mark the 70th anniversary of the WCC, the World Council of Churches. The Catholic Church is not a member of the WCC but has a partnership rather than membership relation. When Catholic Church delegates attend WCC meetings they are referred to as “delegate observers.”

Membership in the WCC is actually by national churches thus, of the 345 members, for example, there might be 35 or so Lutheran churches, 45 Anglican churches and so on. There is no national Catholic Church, rather it relates to other Christian churches in the WCC as an international Christian communion. Catholic delegates do participate in many ways and contribute to the WCC commissions.

EWTN is covering the tip with photos, articles, tweets and FB posts.

POPE FRANCIS ON MIGRATION, AFRICA, WOMEN, CHILE, CHINA

Phil Pullela of Reuters had an interview over the weekend with Pope Francis in the Santa Marta residence. Following are Reuters articles that highlight the various topics touched on. The writing and editing of the interview includes reports from other Reuters bureaus, such as Beijing.

US IMMIGRATION POLICY

Pope Francis has criticized the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the Mexican border, saying populism is not the answer to the world’s immigration problems.
Speaking to Reuters, the Pope said he supported recent statements by U.S. Catholic bishops who called the separation of children from their parents “contrary to our Catholic values” and “immoral”.
“It’s not easy, but populism is not the solution,” Francis said on Sunday night.
In a rare, wide-ranging interview, the pope said he was optimistic about talks that may lead to a historic agreement over the appointment of bishops in China, and said he may accept more bishops’ resignations over a sexual abuse scandal in Chile.
Reflecting at his Vatican residence on his five years as pope, he defended his leadership of the Roman Catholic Church against criticism by conservatives inside and outside the Church who say his interpretation of its teachings is too liberal.
He also said he wanted to appoint more women to top positions in the Vatican administration.
One of his most pointed messages concerned President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy, in which U.S. authorities plan to criminally prosecute all immigrants caught crossing the Mexican border illegally, holding adults in jail while their children are sent to government shelters.
The policy has caused an outcry in the United States and has been condemned abroad as videos emerged of youngsters held in concrete-floored enclosures and an audio of wailing children went viral.
U.S. Catholic bishops have joined other religious leaders in the United States in condemning the policy.

AFRICA

Europe should stop exploiting Africa and invest in ways that benefit the continent more, including by sharing mineral wealth more equitably, Pope Francis said.

“We must invest in Africa, but invest in an orderly way and create employment, not go there to exploit it,” he told Reuters in a wide-ranging interview, while discussing the migration of Africans to Europe.
“When a country grants independence to an African country it is from the ground up – but the subsoil is not independent. And then people (outside Africa) complain about hungry Africans coming here. There are injustices there!”
Touching on the reasons for hunger in Africa, the pope said that, “in our collective unconscious there is something inside us that says Africa must be exploited.”
His comments follow moves in some African countries to win more generous terms from international mining companies.
In Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, the government has enacted a new mining code that is designed to earn extra money for the state from copper, cobalt and gold produced there.
Mining companies say the government should reconsider the law in order to respect exemptions that were granted by its predecessor.
The pope said Europe needed to focus on education and investment in Africa if it wanted to stem the flow of migrants, which is also an increasingly divisive issue in Italy, where the new governing coalition is taking a hard line.
“And there’s a problem,” he added. “We send people back to those who have sent them here. They end up in the jails of traffickers.”
The pope then showed Reuters graphic photographs that he said showed victims of human trafficking who had been tortured and killed in an unspecified location in Africa.

CHINA

Pope Francis has voiced optimism for improved ties between the Vatican and China, rejecting criticism that the Holy See may be selling out Catholics to Beijing’s communist government.

The Vatican and China are in advanced talks to resolve a dispute over the appointment of bishops in China, one of the biggest obstacles to resuming diplomatic ties that were cut almost 70 years ago.
“We are at a good point,” the pope told Reuters in an interview at his Vatican residence.
China’s estimated 12 million Catholics are split between an underground Church that swears loyalty to the Vatican and the state-supervised Catholic Patriotic Association.
Pope Francis did not comment in the interview on the details under discussion but said dialogue was the best way forward.
“Dialogue is a risk, but I prefer risk rather than the certain defeat that comes with not holding dialogue,” he said.
“As for the timing, some people say it’s ‘Chinese time’. I say it’s God’s time. Let’s move forward serenely.”
Francis said the road to reconciliation with China was divided into three paths — the official dialogue, unofficial contacts among ordinary citizens “which we do not want to burn,” and cultural dialogue.
“I think the Chinese people merit the Nobel Prize for patience. They know how to wait. Time is theirs and they have centuries of culture …. They are a wise people, very wise. I have great respect for China,” he said.
Asked about the comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China was sincere about improving two-way ties with the Vatican, and had made “unremitting efforts”.
“We are willing to meet the Vatican side halfway, and make new progress in the process of improving relations and advancing constructive bilateral dialogue,” Geng told a regular news briefing in Beijing on Thursday, without elaborating.
The most outspoken critic of the pope’s China strategy is 86-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen, a former bishop of Hong Kong, who has said the direction of negotiations suggests the Vatican is preparing to sell out the underground church.
In Hong Kong, a beachhead for Vatican loyalists in southern China, some priests say the talks could be a trap leading to greater persecution of underground believers and ultimately to tighter Communist Party control of their religion.

CHILE AND SEX ABUSE CASES

Pope Francis has said he could accept the resignations of more Chilean bishops following a sexual abuse scandal that has shattered the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church in the South American country.

The pope has already accepted the resignations of three bishops, and all Chile’s remaining bishops have offered to resign after allegations that the abuse, including of children, was covered up.

The scandal was “the work of the spirit of evil,” the pope told Reuters in an interview at his residence in the Vatican.
Asked whether he would accept more resignations, the pontiff said: “Maybe some.”
“I still have to accept the resignations of two (bishops) who have exceeded the age limit. But maybe there’s someone else whose resignation I will accept. In one case, I asked that he be given the accusations in order to give him the possibility to defend himself against the accusations and then we will see,” he said.
Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, one of nine cardinals from around the world appointed by the pope to serve as his special advisers, has been accused by abuse survivors of discrediting victims and not investigating their cases. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Asked whether Errázuriz’s position was at risk on the C-9, the pope said: “The C-9 is not an honor, it’s a job. I do not want to get into the game of cutting heads and seeking scapegoats.”
The scandal revolves around Father Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing boys in Santiago in the 1970s and 1980s. Now 87 and living in a nursing home in Chile, he has always denied any wrongdoing.
Four of the about 40 men trained by Karadima for the priesthood later became bishops.
One of the bishops, Juan Barros of the southern city of Osorno, became the focal point of the investigation and is one of the bishops whose resignation the pope has already accepted.
“Many people would have been happy if I had just removed Barros and done nothing else. But no!” the pope said.
Barros has denied allegations that he witnessed and covered up sexual abuse cases.
The scandal came to a head when the Argentine pontiff visited Chile in January. He has since launched a Vatican investigation.
The pope’s sexual abuse investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, has produced a 2,300-page report accusing Chile’s bishops of “grave negligence” in investigating allegations that children were abused and has said evidence of sex crimes was destroyed.
Pope Francis has promised Chilean Catholics that “never again” would the Church ignore them or the cover-up of abuse in their country.
“Families brought their children to Karadima because they believed that the doctrine was sound and they did not know what was happening in there,” he said in the interview.
“The Karadima problem is a very complex problem because there was a blend of the Chilean elite with socio-political situations.”
He called Karadima “a gravely disturbed person”.
The pope said he had returned from his visit to Chile with a feeling of disquiet about the situation there. He said he had summoned all the Chilean bishops to a meeting in Rome because it was “the only thing to do.”
“In the end they said: ‘We want you to feel free, we are all handing in our resignations’,” he said, describing their offer as “a generous gesture”.
The pope said he had wondered what had happened in Chile to cause a sharp drop in support for the Church.
“It’s a difficult phenomenon to understand. Some think it has something to do with a hidden elitism there, but this is just an opinion. Certainly it is the work of the spirit of evil,” he said.

POPE GRANTS INTERVIEW TO MAGAZINE RUN BY HOMELESS – LENTEN FASTING AND ABSTINENCE

Lent starts tomorrow, need I remind you, and I know there might be some uncertainty or confusion regarding the Church’s rules for fasting and abstinence – fasting and abstinence during Lent as well as the rest of the year.

Below, in a nutshell, are the fasting, etc. rules for Lent. I follow that paragraph with what the Code of Canon Law says about this, and then what the USCCB says.

In the meantime I hope you are having a splendid Mardi Gras as we prepare for leaner days to come!

POPE GRANTS INTERVIEW TO MAGAZINE RUN BY HOMELESS

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has given a wide-ranging interview to an Italian magazine run by homeless persons. The interview was published on 28 February in the online magazine called “Scarp de’ tenis” (“Sneakers”).

The magazine also functions as a social project, as most of the staff is homeless, suffers difficult personal situations or forms of social exclusion. For most contributors, the magazine is an important source of income. “Scarp de’ tenis” entered into partnership with the Italian arm of the Vatican’s charity organization, Caritas, in 2008.

In the interview, Pope Francis was asked to explain his recent initiatives for refugees, such as providing accommodation in the Vatican. In his reply, the Pope explained how the initiative to welcome the homeless had inspired parishes throughout Rome to join the effort.

“Here in the Vatican there are two parishes, and both are housing Syrian families. Many parishes in Rome have also opened their doors and others, which don’t have a house for priests, have offered to pay rent for families in need, for a full year” he said.

Throughout the interview the Pope often referred to the idea of walking in each others shoes. According to the Pope, to walk in the other’s shoes is a way to escape our own egoism: “In the shoes of the other, we learn to have a great capacity for understanding, for getting to know difficult situations.”

The Pope maintains that words alone are not enough, what is needed, he said, is the “Greatness” to walk in the shoes of the other: “How often I have met a person who, after having searched for Christian comfort, be they a layman, a priest, a sister or a bishop, they tell me ‘they listened to me, but didn’t understand me.’”

During the interview, the Pope also joked about people’s attitudes concerning giving money to those who live on the streets. “There are many arguments which justify why we should not give these alms: ‘I give money and he just spends it on a glass of wine!’ A glass of wine is his only happiness in life!” joked Pope Francis.

There was also a lesson in generosity within the interview. The Pope told a story from his time in Buenos Aires, of a mother with five children. While the father was at work and the rest of the family ate lunch, a homeless man called in to ask for food. Rather than letting the children give away their father’s dinner for that evening, the mother taught the children to give away some of their own food: “If we wish to give, we must give what is ours!” insisted the Pope.

Regarding the question of limiting numbers of refugee and migrants who arrive in a particular place, the Pope first reminded his readers that many of those arriving are fleeing from war or hunger. All of us in this world, says the Pope, are part of this situation and need to find ways to help and benefit those around us. According to him, this responsibility is especially true of governments and the Pope used the example of the work of the Saint Egidio community (that has established humanitarian corridors for groups of vulnerable migrants) in order to make his point. Regarding the 13 refugees who arrived from Lesbos, the Pope pointed out that the families have integrated well into society, with the children being enrolled in schools and their parents having found work. This, according to Pope Francis, is an example of immigrants wanting to fit into and contribute to a new country, and achieving that desire.

To further underline his point, the Pope highlighted the case of Sweden, where almost 10% of the population, including the Minister for Culture, are immigrants. During his own life, in the difficult years of the military dictatorship in Argentina, the Pope often looked to the Swedish as a positive example of integration.

LENTEN FASTING AND ABSTINENCE

The basic rules: Every person 14 years of age or older must abstain from meat (and items made with meat) on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent. Every person between the age of 18 and 59 (beginning of 60th year) must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. (image St Michael Catholic Church, Bedford TX)

lent-image

Here is what the 1983 Code of Canon Law says about fasting and abstinence: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P4O.HTM

Days of Penance

Can.  1249 The divine law binds all the Christian faithful to do penance each in his or her own way. In order for all to be united among themselves by some common observance of penance, however, penitential days are prescribed on which the Christian faithful devote themselves in a special way to prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves by fulfilling their own obligations more faithfully and especially by observing fast and abstinence, according to the norm of the following canons.

Can.  1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

cacon-1250

Can.  1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Can.  1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.

Can.  1253 The conference of bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast.

(JFL: Note that Canon law in 1251 says: “Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday.” It is my experience that the majority of Catholics do not know this, i.e. abstinence from meat or another food or an act of penance on all Fridays of the year.) Canon 1253, however, gives leeway on this via the Episcopal Conference of a country (see below).

USCCB (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops):  PASTORAL STATEMENT ON FASTING AND ABSTINENCE

A Statement Issued by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops November 18, 1966

Here is part of that statement:

21.  For these and related reasons, the Catholic bishops of the United States, far from downgrading the traditional penitential observance of Friday, and motivated precisely by the desire to give the spirit of penance greater vitality, especially on Fridays, the day that Jesus died, urge our Catholic people henceforth to be guided by the following norms.

22.  Friday itself remains a special day of penitential observance throughout the year, a time when those who seek perfection will be mindful of their personal sins and the sins of mankind which they are called upon to help expiate in union with Christ Crucified.

23. Friday should be in each week something of what Lent is in the entire year. For this reason we urge all to prepare for that weekly Easter that comes with each Sunday by freely making of every Friday a day of self-denial and mortification in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ.

24. Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, even though we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence binding under pain of sin, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday, we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat. We do so in the hope that the Catholic community will ordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice as formerly we did in obedience to Church law. Our expectation is based on the following considerations:

  1. We shall thus freely and out of love for Christ Crucified show our solidarity with the generations of believers to whom this practice frequently became,especially in times of persecution and of great poverty, no mean evidence of fidelity to Christ and His Church.
  2. We shall thus also remind ourselves that as Christians, although immersed in the world and sharing its life, we must preserve a saving and necessary difference from the spirit of the world. Our deliberate, personal abstinence from meat, more especially because no longer required by law, will be an outward sign of inward spiritual values that we cherish.
  1. Every Catholic Christian understands that the fast and abstinence regulations admit of change, unlike the commandments and precepts of that unchanging divine moral law which the Church must today and always defend as immutable. This said, we emphasize that our people are henceforth free from the obligation traditionally binding under pain of sin in what pertains to Friday abstinence, except as noted above for Lent. We stress this so that “no” scrupulosity will enter into examinations of conscience, confessions, or personal decisions on this point.

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/us-bishops-pastoral-statement-on-penance-and-abstinence.cfm